President John Kennedy often interlaced the Catholic teaching, Men of Good Will, into his public statements. At the end of the Cuban missile crisis he reflected on how the conflict was not a win for either side, but rather that men of good will, on both sides, acted to stave off the unthinkable consequences of nuclear brinkmanship. I need to point out that the concept men of good will is not exclusively limited by gender, but rather it should be thought of as an all-encompassing character message for all humans.
This country, this world, desperately need men of good will as we stare into the abyss of artificial intelligence and the ramifications it holds for the future of our democracy. Miracles are at our doorstep, but so is the possibility of Armageddon.
No one ever questioned John Kennedy’s dedication to his country, or that he ever believed that capitalism was somehow evil. The concept men of good will speaks to those of us who choose not to allow blind ideology or petty motivations to infect what is known as the body politic. Webster’s defines that term as “a people as forming a political body under an organized government.” The great American humorist Will Rogers once quipped that he was not a member of an organized political party, as he was a Democrat. I sometimes contemplate the idea that if John Kennedy were alive today, would he be comfortable with his political party. He authored an essay, While England Slept. Today he could write, While America Bickered.
The last six months of watching the Democrat party govern Colorado has been an exercise in incredulity. What’s wrong with Denver? could become a campaign slogan for the rest of the state. If it was attention that Democrats were seeking, I think they succeeded. A case in point would be State Sen. Kerry Donavan. I do not know if she will face a recall effort or not, but I do think there are good civic reasons as to why she should be. To boldly lie in legislative testimony about how the county sheriff back home supported her Red Flag legislation, only to have him show up at her next Town Hall meeting to refute that, was entertaining but hardly conducive to good government. Neither is her heavy-handed approach to wolf re-introduction. I have to have faith that Colorado, as a whole, will correct the over-reach that was the past legislative session.
It is my understanding, as I write this column, that sufficient signatures were acquired by petition to place the Electoral College question on the 2020 ballot. This is an issue that should be decided by the citizens of Colorado, not a political party, engaging in hyper partisanship.
This November, Colorado voters will have the chance to turn back yet another challenge to TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, passed in 1992. Proposition CC, as written, will give the Legislature the right to keep all future revenue. That is money that is collected that exceeds the $30 billion that Colorado currently spends. State tax refunds will be a thing of the past. Next year, over-collected revenue is projected to be $575 million. All those politicians and lobbyists up in Denver are salivating over what they can spend it on. They are quick to say that the money will be spent on education. That is what they said in 2005 and they didn’t do it. Once money is placed in the general fund, it is difficult if not impossible to track it. Any tax hike should be voted on by the citizens, otherwise our voices become meaningless.
As citizens of good will we understand and want a functional government. Our problem today is far too many in government and in the general population are not people of good will. Generally agreed-on standards for elected officials used to be guided by merit, by honesty and integrity, but the political climate of today allows politicians to double down and roll out social media to justify outrageous behavior. If you have a bigger mob, you can win.
How did we get here? More importantly, how do we turn it around? Representative government is in real danger when concerns of large segments of the electorate are easily and openly dismissed. The urban/rural divide, the haves/have nots, the informed/ the dazed all translate into a warning signal of immense proportions for our Republic.
I suggest we start by refusing to be manipulated and co-opted by echo chambers that soothe your ego and vanity. As voters we are constantly asked to settle for the lesser of two evils instead of following our principles. Who out there really believes the ability to register to vote on Election Day is good government? I want informed voters, not a last-ditch attempt to turn out the vote so we can win mentality, casting ballots. Spinquark.com is reporting that over a hundred individuals that previously were employed by powerful politicians in the Democrat Party have relocated into high-level positions at the largest social media and internet outlets. There is nothing illegal about that development, but it does raise concerns that personal political agendas will transfer to possible activism that unduly influences the 2020 election process. Americans need to have confidence in the legitimacy of our elections.
America needs and deserves men of good will now more than ever.
Valerie Maez writes from Lewis, Colo.